“Mr. Chirry chose the spot, without consulting
Such a very public place, and insecure for it,
I can scarcely sleep at night for nervousness; but he
Says I am a silly thing and doesn’t mind a bit.”
“So the Bluebirds have contracted, have
they, for a house?
And a nest is under way for little Mr. Wren?
Hush, dear, hush! Be quiet, dear; quiet as a mouse.
These are weighty secrets, and we must whisper them.”
Close the downy dowagers nestle on the bough
While the timorous voices soften low with dread,
And we, walking underneath, little reckon their
Mysteries are couching in the tree-tops overhead.
Ah, the pretty whisperers! It was very
When the leaves were thick and green, awhile ago—
Leaves are secret-keepers; but since the last leaf fell
There is nothing hidden from the eyes below.
Bared are the brown tenements, and all the world
What Mrs. Chirry, Mrs. Flurry, hid so close that day.
In the place of rustling wings, cold winds rustling be,
And thickly lie the icicles where once the warm brood lay.
Shall we tease the birdies, when they come back
Tease and tell them we have fathomed all their secrets small,
Every secret hiding-place and dear and precious, thing,
Which they left behind the leaves, the red leaves, in the fall?
They would only laugh at us and wink their saucy
And answer, “Last year’s secrets are all past and told.
New years bring new happenings and fresh mysteries,
You are very welcome to the stale ones of the old!”
HOW THE LEAVES CAME DOWN.
I’ll tell you how the leaves came down.
The great Tree to his children said,
“You’re getting sleepy, Yellow and Brown,
Yes, very sleepy, little Red;
It is quite time you went to bed.”
“Ah!” begged each silly, pouting
“Let us a little longer May;
Dear Father Tree, behold our grief,
’Tis such a very pleasant day
We do not want to go away.”
So, just for one more merry day
To the great Tree the leaflets clung,
Frolicked and danced and had their way,
Upon the autumn breezes swung,
Whispering all their sports among,
“Perhaps the great Tree will forget
And let us stay until the spring
If we all beg and coax and fret.”
But the great Tree did no such thing;
He smiled to hear their whispering.
“Come, children all, to bed,” he
And ere the leaves could urge their prayer
He shook his head, and far and wide,
Fluttering and rustling everywhere,
Down sped the leaflets through the air.
I saw them; on the ground they lay,
Golden and red, a huddled swarm,
Waiting till one from far away,
White bed-clothes heaped upon her arm,
Should come to wrap them safe and warm.